5 days to go!

Okay – so only 5 days to go (apparently!)

My last short run today. Felt strange – and very short!

Getting very organised now. I have bought my official ‘manky fleece’. This is to be worn before the start, so that I can keep warm right up until kick off. (What do you mean, marathons don’t have a kick off?) Then it is cast aside with everyone else’s ‘manky fleeces’, bin bags, old gloves etc. These are collected up and recycled, so its not just throwing them away. Unfortunately, I’m quite fond of the one I found in the PDSA shop today – might be a wrench to leave it behind.

Second organised thing done today – ironed my name onto my Dorothy House charity vest. Didn’t burn or melt it (phew!) and its looking very smart. It has my real name, and “B&T” (for those that know me by that name).

Off to London tomorrow, to the ‘Expo’. I have to go and collect my running number in person, so a mad dash up & back between school drop off and home comings has been organised. I’m hoping to meet some of the people I’ve been sharing this madness with online, but its such a huge place, with so many people going to be there, I know we’ll be lucky if we do manage to meet up. But hey – you never know!

Its the Final Countdown!

So its officially less than a week to go.
I can now say “When I run the London Marathon this week“.
It really is too late to worry about it now – I just have to get my self organised (adds that to giant To Do list).

Short run today, hopefully with son as bicycling attendant. Collect my number on Wednesday. Last Physio session on Thursday to get taped up again (if she thinks its needed). Maybe another little run on Thursday. Friday for last minute dithering, then OFF on Saturday!

Must try and iron my name onto my charity vest today. Just in case I melt my top, the theory is I would still have time to get hold of another one.

Obsessing about the weather forecast for Sunday, and what the appropriate amount of clothing is. Shorts or capris? Vest, or vest with top underneath, or vest with top over the top that can be removed if it warms up? Bin bag if its raining, or running gilet?

Oh such angst!

"Only 9 days to go!"

So  my Sponsorship page tells me its ‘only 9 days to go!’ (Note the exclamation mark – they added that, not me. If there was a piece of punctuation that gave the impression of a strangled cry of anguish, then that’s what I would have added.)

Actually, I am feeling slightly calmer now. The head-in-the-sand denial has passed, but its so close now I don’t have time to panic, just to write lots of lists. What I need to take to the Expo. What I need on the day. What I need to put into the bag that goes onto the baggage truck at the start, and meets me at the finish. (I did wonder if I could squeeze into the bag, but don’t think it will be big enough. Curses!)

Dragged the children out on their bikes earlier in the week so they could accompany me whilst I ran. We managed 4.24M which is good going for them. Actually getting everyone out of the house whilst ignoring the moaning was harder than the run was! Lovely friend of mine took both children away this morning to spend time with her children, so I set off on my last long run before The Big Day. Actually, it was only 1 hour, but all things are relative.

Thought I’d better practice all the lovely positive visualisations I’d been reading about. Oh, and the positive mantras, and the general P.M.A.*! Tried my best, presume it must have worked because I had a lovely run. Ignored the slight niggle in my shin, didn’t worry about taking it good and slow, tried my hardest to ignore the decomposing badger (ugh!!). Ran for almost exactly 1 hour, and when I came back inside, realised I’d enjoyed my run. Really enjoyed being out in the beautiful countryside I’m so lucky to live in. Enjoyed feeling my body working to power me along. Enjoyed hearing the birds and feeling the sun on my body. Just enjoyed my run, like I used to.

Feeling sickeningly positive now, so have send another e-mail to various friends and villagers asking if they’d like to sponsor me (sorry if you got that one!). Would LOVE to reach £1,000 – an amount I never dreamed I’d be able to raise.

Right – am going to go and do something slightly less uplifting now (hoovering) to try and bring me back down to earth. Happy Friday everyone!

* PMA = Positive Mental Attitude, dude!

Tapering Approaching … pass the Easter Eggs

So this is supposed to be week 1 of my taper. However, as I’ve done so little running I thought I’d be better off doing some more miles this week, then having a 2 week taper. Just the little inconvenience of the children being off school for the Easter holidays!

I said Taper, NOT Tapir!

Had a brainwave – its free swimming over the holidays, and the pool had a 3 hour ‘flumes’ session. Perfect – I could drop them at the pool, have a good long run and then collect them afterwards. Nothing could go wrong with that plan, could it?? Even got free parking, as all 3 machines were broken in the car park – a good omen!

All started well, ran for 50 minutes out along the (flat!) cycle route, tried my new gels, took it good & steady and practised my walk breaks. Then turned back (as I felt a bit far away from the pool!) planning on heading back to town and then running laps until the children had finished. Just 10 minutes later, I had a call from my daughter “We were cold and bored, so we got out and are waiting in the foyer”. Aargh!! I told her I’d be at least 40 minutes, and they could spend their locker money to buy a drink and a snack and to wait there for me!

High points on the way home were hearing a very noisy crashing sound, only to discover it was a heron landing in the next field by the river, and then seeing 2 deer just next to the path. they stopped and stared at me, and I stopped and stared at them!

Met up with children, got everyone home and settled, and headed out again for a few more miles. The cold rain started (it felt like sleet, but don’t think it was really), I was very tired, and then the battery died on my Garmin. Time to head for home! Think it was 13 miles in total, but felt more.

I had a lovely 8 mile run down in Cornwall on Easter Saturday. Down country lanes, through the woods and along another cycle path (flat again).

So now I really must taper – got to rest these legs and sort my Positive Mental Attitude out (yes, I have been reading US websites!) I’m sure Easter eggs count as carb loading, don’t they?

Training Going Well!

After the excitement of last week’s 10 mile run, I finally decided that I could do this darned marathon thing, my leg was strong enough, and I was mentally fit enough!

This week has started with my plan to run for 6 miles and a long run of 13 miles. I will hopefully fit in some aqua plodding, and maybe another short run as well, and/or some cycling. Unfortunately this week is looking being one of ‘those’ weeks.

I am typing this whilst waiting impatiently for the engineer to come and service our boiler. He could arrive any time between 8am – 1pm, and the last time I can aquaplod is 12 noon, as then they rope the pool into highly regimented lanes with speed limits. Unfortunately my aquaplod pace is slower even than the Slow lane, so its not really fair to the rest of the Chippenham lunchtime swimmers if I hold them up! Wednesday they don’t have any sessions I can get to, and Thursday is allocated for my ‘Long Run’. On Friday the first of my children is home as school has finished for Easter. Wonder if she’d like to come swimming whilst I aquaplod???

This week’s Long Run is planned to be 13 miles. Yes, I know its only half the distance of the marathon, but even so its a 3 mile jump up from last week. As long as the weather doesn’t stay this hot I think its achievable. Run – Walk is my new plan!

Yesterday I started of this week’s training with a plan to run (yes RUN – not run-walk!) for 6 miles. I figured I need to toughen my legs up over these shorter distances, and then I can work on my stamina for run-walking over the longer distances. I also realised I’d better try out my race day outfit, as I’m seriously running out of time! It was so cold first thing I actually had to wait until nearly 10am before I could push myself out of the door. There should be a Government regulation about minimum temperatures for wearing vest and shorts! I was freezing for the first mile and a half (seriously – goosebumps and everything!), and after that I was boiling! The weather is beautiful at the moment, but I really hope it breaks before 22nd April,,, sorry everyone!)

Anyway, apart from the heat, run went really well, and I ended up running for 7.21 miles. It felt much harder than last week’s 10 miles, so I think that proves the walk breaks are really going to help over the long distances. Pace wasn’t that much faster either.

So – still no sign of the Engineer. Will now update my Virgin Money Giving page, and I need to write another begging email asking for donations. I haven’t felt I could ask for donations whilst I was unsure if I’d make it to the start line. Shows how much more confident I’m feeling!

And now for a long run…

After Monday’s test run of FIVE MILES which didn’t leave me limping, I decided on a new strategy for my marathon training. Basically, its Do or Die. I need to really push hard, increase my mileage dramatically every week. If my shin (or any other part of me!) can’t take it, then I’d never finish the marathon and I’ll defer and do it in 2013 instead.

Bearing this in mind I set off in Thursday’s hint of sunshine aiming for 8 miles. I picked a route I’ve often used on my Half Marathon training as there’s a large section across farmland through the grounds of a Estate. As I’d thought, the first field was full of little lambs, huddling close to their Mums.

Lambs & Mum. Baaaaa!

The miles ticked by, after the first dew miles I decided I’d better practice a Run – Walk strategy, as if I do make it to the Start line I think that’s the only way I’ll make it to the Finish line. I ran for a mile, then walked for a minute, and continued that for the whole run. I made it round the fields, back onto the roads and the gentle incline back to the village.  As I approached the village, nearing the mile 8 mark, I decided I felt so good I’d add another little loop to my run, and aim to get to 10 miles.

Cue some more fields (no sheep this time though), steps getting slower but still running, and ran up my drive to see my watch saying I’d run 9.99 miles. Only a mad woman would then run up and down the drive until it changed to 10 miles, wouldn’t they? Well, I’m a mad woman then, because that’s what I did.

TEN MILES!! Took me 2 hours, but legs felt okay, just tired rather than broken. Shin felt okay, but I felt marvellous. I really think I can do this!

Not so new looking trainers any more!

 Got inside to see the Postman had brought the second issue of the London Marathon magazine. Flicked through it seeing information on the start, the route, Dos & Don’ts for the day, and I promptly burst into tears. Still not sure why – only a mad woman would cry over a magazine…. oh hang on I think we’ve covered that one!

Friday morning now, think I need to get out on the bike, cycle to my aqua plod session (just an hour this time, but aiming to keep it speedy!) and then cycle home in this glorious sunshine. Then I need to bake some Chocolate Brownies because 1. My daughter will be home tonight after a week away, and 2. because I’m worth it!

The Training’s Restarted!

You’ll be pleased to hear I’m still in a positive mood! After my two short runs last week I also managed  to cycle to the swimming pool, aqua-plod for TWO HOURS and then cycle home again. I felt brain dead after those two hours, but the cycle home helped wake me up, and then as I came back into the village I passed the postman who flagged me down and shouted that he had already tried 3 times to deliver a parcel that had to be signed for, so he’d loop round and try again. I cycled home so fast I beat him there, and he handed over my NEW SHOES!

Busy weekend (daughter being dropped at school in the early hours for her trip to Germany, son’s birthday sleepover and Mother’s Day for starters!) so couldn’t get out to try them. Then Monday morning dawned. Everyone was out, the sun was shining, the shoes were calling….

I set off for 4 miles. Everything was stiff, aching and complaining, but I carried on. After 2 and a half miles the stiffness was easing off. Shin was still sore but I was ignoring it. At four miles I was nearly back home, and I suddenly realised my shin wasn’t painful. I couldn’t feel anything sore there. It didn’t feel like someone was pressing hard on the bony part of my leg any more. Overjoyed I decided to press on and ran an extra mile. Shin started hurting again on a gentle downhill, and then again on the gentle uphill, but it gave me hope that this WILL clear up. One day!

So what shall I do today???

No More Moaning (for today!)

Sat down and read back my last few blog posts last night, and it even made *me* depressed! So, enough moaning, let’s have some positive thoughts & vibes here (man!)

I survived Monday’s epic 2 mile run, and by Tuesday my leg was still okay. Still a little sore, but definitely walk-on-able. More stretching and icing, and a decision made. I investigated the latest date to defer my entry for VLM. Turns out, the latest date is 22nd April 2012 – which is Race Day! This means I can continue to train for now and can literally decide at the last minute that its not feasible to do it. (You’re not allowed to defer if you actually start the race!)

Although this may be just putting off the awful decision I actually feel much happier, as I have a plan in place now, and a definite date to aim towards. As I was feeling happy I decided I would try (again!) to get some new shoes. Do you think these are bright enough?

Look nice! Thanks for the photo, Sweatshop 🙂

Actually, I haven’t got them yet – they’re being posted to me. Good things come to those who wait – so after spending around 2 hours in the shop, and then waiting for them to arrive, that MUST mean they’re going to be good!

Came home, and was inspired to pull on my (old) trainers. Optimistically set off for 3 miles – and survived! Leg was a little stretchy-sore again, but I stopped after every mile to have a stretch and then walked for a minute. Iced and ibuprofen when I got home. It was okay last night, and certainly no sorer than usual this morning.

It is lovely to be out in the fresh air again (even if it was murky-foggy air) and one incident reminded me especially of how much I love running in the countryside where I live. Running down a track with hedges on each side, I heard a rustling under the hedge on my left just ahead of me. I slowed down and saw a small bird running (looked like a young pheasant maybe) and then a hawk swooped down from the top of the hedge and sank its claws into the young bird’s back! At the sound of my shuffling feet the hawk stopped, turned, looked at me, and the released the bird and flew off. The young bird looked stunned at its escape and scuttled off to hide under a different hedge instead.

You don’t see that driving around in your car!